Working Mother Myths

The Washington Post had an op-ed piece in Sunday’s paper (May 30) entitled “5 Myths About Working Mother.”

1. Mothers today spend much less time caring for children than did their parents and grandparents.

2. Women’s jobs interfere with family life more than men’s.

3. Mothers with college degrees are more likely than other women to opt out of the workforce.

4. Women who work are less likely to have successful marriages.

5. Parents don’t experience discrimination in the workplace.

Current numbers show that close to two-thirds of women with kids under the age of 18 are working outside the home. And we know that a lot more of us are working from home with children.

Food for thought!

Until next time,

Sarah

Toddler TV Time

Another new study was released this month decrying the side effects of too much television on toddlers. According to an article in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (a JAMA/Archives journal), the side effects of too much screen time may not be evident until the child enters grade school.

Children who watch more TV at 29 months old (2½) seem to exhibit more problems in school and poorer health behaviors when they enter fourth grade.

A study of more than 1300 kids around 29 months old found that each additional hour of TV in early childhood corresponded with a 7 percent unit drop in classroom engagement, a 6 percent decline in math achievement and a whopping 13 percent decrease in weekend physical activity.

It gets even scarier: Each additional TV hour in early childhood is linked to a 9 percent higher score for soda consumption and a 10 percent higher score for snack consumption. In other words, watching TV as a 2 year old contributes to fatter kids.

“The long-term risks associated with higher levels of early exposure may chart developmental pathways toward unhealthy dispositions in adolescence,” the study’s authors wrote.

This research, coupled with previous studies, shows that television programs on a regular basis are not good for toddlers and preschoolers. In my house, the TV is rarely on during the day and only at night when the children are all in bed. Yes, sometimes I do long to pop in a video because the kids are driving me crazy, but I curb that tendency and instead kick them outside for some playtime. With more and more evidence stacking up that TV time is not good for the health and well-being of children, especially young children, I think it’s time we stop our love affair with the boob tube and start realizing the very real dangers even “educational” programming can do to our kids.

Avoid Credit Card Financing

A recent study found that credit card usage to keep small businesses, including home-based businesses, afloat can be deadly to their well-being. “A recent study by Robert Scott of Monmouth University found that every $1,000 increase in credit-card debt increases the probability a firm will close by 2.2 percent,” Alan Zell posted in SCORE’s online Listserv, as quoted in a Herald-Tribune story about credit-card financing.

“Credit cards are more prevalent for funding start-up businesses because traditional sources of financing have become less available during the Great Recession and financial meltdown,” the article says.

Instead of using credit cards for your at-home business, consider saving money before expanding, cutting expenses to the bare bones and growing your business slowly. I offer more ideas on how to finance your home-based business in my book, Hired @ Home.

Until next time,

Sarah

Juggling Act

Most women wear many hats, including work and mommy. I’ll be doing a presentation on “How To Juggle Work With Family Life” during the Mommy In Training conference on Saturday, April 24, in Alexandria, Va. The conference is chock-full of helpful seminars on being a mother, so if you’re in the area, please stop by.

For more information, visit the conference Web site.

Until next time,

Sarah

Spring Into Spring

With the flowers starting to bloom and the winds bringing warmer breezes, it finally feels as though spring has come to Virginia. With spring, my thoughts turn to spring cleaning both my house and my freelance writing/editing business.

To spring clean your at-home business, set aside a few hours to go through your file folders and toss or shred old paperwork. Clean out your email inbox and take a look at what electronic documents can be deleted. Make sure your computer’s antivirus software is up-to-date. Jot down a list of things that might need replacing, fixing or upgrading in the near future.

Consider ordering new business cards or adding something to your Web site. Develop a spring marketing campaign. Review your potential client lists and start devising ways to reach those customers.

These are just a few ways to spruce up your business.

Until next time,

Sarah

Married Women Leave Home to Work

Today’s Washington Post had an article on the front page of the Metro section entitled “More Moms Entering Workforce.” The article talked about the recession forcing more married woman who had been staying at home with their children to find work outside the home.

The number of stay-at-home moms has dropped from 5.3 million in 2007 to 5.1 million in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Some analysts point to the gender gap in the unemployment rate as part of the reason women are leaving home for the workforce. The unemployment rate for men is 10 percent, while it’s only 7.9 percent for women.

For women who need to assist in paying household bills and do not want to work outside the home, starting a home-based business or working with an employer to work from home either most or all of the time can make sense.

Until next time,

Sarah

Census Bureau Reports Home-Based Workers to Reached 11 Million in 2005

The following is a press release dated Jan. 25, 2010, from the U.S. Census Bureau about the rising number of people who worked from home.

The number of people who worked at home increased by nearly 2 million, from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly half of these home workers had college degrees and nearly half of them earned $75,000 a year or more.

These figures come from Home-Based Workers in the United States: 1999-2005, a series of tables that describe the type of employment, occupations and characteristics of home-based workers in the United States. The tables examine the total workforce and compare those who work at home with those who do not. The data are produced from a supplement to the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

An examination of the data shows an increasing percentage of the workforce is spending at least some time working from home,” said Alison Fields, chief of the Census Bureau’s Journey to Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “This survey provides a better picture of the attributes of these people, as well as which professions and occupations allow them to work at home.”

Home-based workers made up 8 percent of the total U.S. workforce in 2005, an increase from 7 percent in 1999. Among those who worked at home in 2005, about 8.1 million did so exclusively, an increase from 6.7 million in 1999.

Examining those who worked at home in 2005 by industry, the largest percentage worked in professional and related services (32 percent), followed by business and repair services (12 percent) and finance, insurance and real estate (10 percent).

The most popular occupations among those who reported working at home were professional (25 percent), executive, administrative and managerial (22 percent) and sales (18 percent).

The median monthly earnings of workers who worked at home were about $2,400 in 2005; the median annual family income for these workers was approximately $68,000.

High-paying jobs were more likely to involve working at home for some or all of the work time. In 2005, 46 percent of people who said they worked at home some or all of the time earned at least $75,000 per year, compared with 34 percent of non-home workers who made at least that much. Those who worked both at home and in an office had the highest percentage of high-paying jobs — about 54 percent of whom made $75,000 or more annually in 2005.

Along with more money came longer hours. About 11 percent of those who worked at home for some or all of their workweek reported working 11 or more hours in a typical day in 2005. Only about 7 percent of workers who worked outside the home reported doing so.

Despite the long hours, there seemed to be more flexibility for people who worked at home. In 2005, about 23 percent of home-based workers reported their weekly work hours varied, compared with only 10 percent of those who worked outside the home.

Characteristics of home-based workers:

•In 2005, about 51 percent were female.
•About 4 percent were age 15-24; nearly 18 percent were 25-34; 26 percent were 35-44; 26 percent were 45-54; 18 percent were 55-64 and nearly 9 percent were 65 and older.
•White non-Hispanics made up about 82 percent of this workforce; blacks represented about 6 percent, Asians nearly 4 percent, and all other races about 3 percent. Hispanics, who could be of any race, made up about 6 percent.
•About 47 percent of those who worked at home had at least a bachelor’s degree; almost 32 percent had at least some college; about 17 percent had a high school diploma; and about 5 percent had less than a high school diploma.

New Year, Clean Slate

I love the beginning of a new year, as the days spread out before you like a crisp, new page just waiting for you to carefully write your ideas upon. A new year holds such promise, so many opportunities.

But sometimes it can be tough to look forward to a new year when the old one didn’t live up to our expectations. Maybe your home-based business struggled over the last year with the tough economy.

Take a moment to look at 2010 and just let your imagination go wild with dreams of all you would like to accomplish. Then take a deep breath, jot down those dreams and see what you can do to make them come true. For some, it will mean stepping out of your comfort zone. For others, it will mean believing in yourself that you can do it.

Now you might have to scale back the dream. Not all of us can be rock stars, after all. But with hard work and a realistic outlook, maybe 2010 will be the year you realize your dream.

Until next time,

Sarah